Public Release:  Positive expectations help patients recover from whiplash 3 times faster: study

University of Alberta

Positive thoughts bring positive things to people and it's well documented these expectations have helped people recover from a number of health conditions. But until now, not much was known about the correlation between that belief and the recovery from injuries like whiplash.

Two University of Alberta researchers and a colleague from Sweden have found some answers to that question in three different studies on expectations for recovery.

Linda Carroll, in the School of Public Health, looked at a cohort of over 6,000 adults with traffic-related whiplash injuries. She found that those that had positive outlooks towards their recovery actually recovered over three times faster than those who did not.

Dejan Ozegovic, also in the School of Public Health, looked at predications around returning to work, using the same cohort. Positive return-to-work assumptions meant people rated themselves as "recovered" 42 per cent faster than those who had more negative expectations.

Lena Holm, a Swedish researcher who is working at the U of A this summer, found that those study participants in Sweden who had low expectations of complete recovery were four times more likely to still feel symptoms of the injury six months later.

The researchers were surprised by the findings, which showed that the severity of the injury did not have an impact on the recovery times.

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The three researchers are available for interviews. Please contact me directly. I can also provide you a copy of the studies.

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